Luther Ingram

Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway/Do You Love Somebody

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When Stax Records went bust in the mid-'70s, it wasn't as serious a blow to Luther Ingram as it was to many of the other artists on its roster -- for Ingram was on the Stax-distributed Ko Ko label, and though he was unable to release records for a while when Ko Ko founder Johnny Baylor had legal problems, he was able to continue recording for Ko Ko in the late '70s. This U.K. CD combines his 1976 album Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway and his 1977 album Do You Love Somebody onto one disc, adding a bonus track in the 1972 LP version of "I'll Love You Until the End." The mid- to late '70s saw many mainstream soul stars incorporating funk and disco into their sound in attempts (usually vain) to keep up with the times, but these two Ingram albums were stylistically consistent with his Stax-distributed records of the early '70s. That might have made them seem slightly behind the times when they were issued, but decades later it actually makes them seem less dated than many R&B records of the period that made ill-advised efforts to latch onto trends. There isn't much reason to favor one of the albums over the other; each has lush romantic Southern soul that avoids getting too slick, and assured vocals by Ingram, though neither is that excellent. Ingram was probably known mostly for ballads, but he was also capable of getting into a reasonably forceful midtempo funky groove, as tracks on Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway like "I Like the Feeling" and "It's Too Much" demonstrated. A few of these cuts made the R&B charts, but the emotional title cut of Do You Love Somebody was by far the biggest. The same album's "Ain't Good for Nothing" has the funkiest guitar work on the disc, and "Funny People" is retro enough to use an electric sitar, as well as being one of the two songs here to look beyond love for its subject matter.

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